YMCA of Boulder Valley, 2850 Mapleton Avenue, Boulder, ymcabv.org

Instructor: Ten years ago, Tiffany Lough started taking Y Pump at the YMCA as a student and fell in love. Her passion for the weight training class and the support of her instructor encouraged her to take the training course to teach the class for the YMCA.

What is the workout? Strength training that focuses on toning muscle by doing more repetitions with lighter weights then traditional weight training. The class incorporates circuit training, focusing on one muscle group at a time. The exercises vary for each class, but you always work eight major muscles groups: glutes, chest, back, triceps, biceps, quadriceps, shoulders and abs.

Before class started there was a flurry of activity, everyone was grabbing risers, a step bench, a mat, a barbell, and multiple dumbbells of different weights. The cushioned mat was placed on top of the step bench, transforming it into a weight bench for doing exercises like bench presses, overhead tricep extensions and dumbbell flys — basically, turning the group workout room into a small, personal gym.

What's different? Exercises are slowed down, focusing on form instead of speed. It's less cardio than similar classes. The trade-off is a safer experience with an emphasis on building strength. Lough also teaches some exercises that don't require any equipment, this way students can workout at home if they can't make it to class.


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"I think you can get anything out of this class, as much as you want to put into it. I watch very closely on form, because that's where it starts and ends. If the proper form isn't there then the muscle group that you're targeting isn't getting worked properly and you could have injury, so that's why I go a little bit slower," Lough said.

Instructor Tiffany Lough leads her Y Pump fitness class last month at the YMCA in Boulder.
Instructor Tiffany Lough leads her Y Pump fitness class last month at the YMCA in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

You are constantly switching exercises, focusing on one muscle group in each set and doing many repetitions. By the time the set is done you can't wait to move on to some less exhausted part of your body. I picked what I thought was an appropriate, relatively easy weight for me. After so many repetitions I wished I'd been a little more conservative, as my arms began to shake.

This is one of the only group fitness classes I've taken that doesn't perform the exercise to the beat of music, which can be off-putting but also refreshing. Once you get out of the music mind-set you don't feel the same pressure to go quickly. Instead you focus on the queues given by the instructor.

Cost: A membership at the YMCA is $65 a month with a $50 join fee. The drop-in price is $12.

Level: "This is a good class for any level health seeker," Lough said. Students picked their own weights and were encouraged to grab a couple different weights, so they could change them out when the exercise became too taxing. Lough often reminded students that they could reduce their weights or forgo using them altogether if they were too tired.

"I think you can come in here as a beginner and feel comfortable. I think you can also take your weights up and come in here and be more advanced," Lough said. She pointed out that some of the students have been taking the Y Pump class for 10 or 15 years.

When: 6 p.m. Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursdays, and 10:45 a.m. Saturdays

What to prepare: A bottle of water and workout clothes.

Muscles worked: All of my muscles got a workout in this class. Lough left no stone unturned. My arms were especially sore, I don't think there was a single muscle in my arm that wasn't targeted.

What I loved: This is a great class for someone who has no or little experience with weight training. For those of us that walk into a weight room and stare blankly at all the contraptions and wonder what we need to do to build muscle tone, this class is perfect. You don't have to look up exercises or question if you are doing the workout correctly. You leave all the difficult parts to the instructor and just focus on the class. I also loved that Lough was so approachable. It was encouraging to have an instructor who was easy to relate to. In a town full of professional athletes, there are still some of us just striving to live a healthier life, and Lough is an amazing example.

What I didn't like: It was a little confusing at first. With all the equipment and weights I wasn't sure which weights to choose or how many. Lough was great — she approached all the new students and did her best to help us get all of our gear. I think it takes a little experimenting to find the best weights for each of the exercises.

How I felt after the class: The workout was more complete than I was expecting and all of my muscles were tired. I didn't have the energy to change out of my workout clothes. I just put my jacket on and ventured out into the snow.

Know of any interesting workouts? Tell us about them so we can check them out: quentin@dailycamera.com.